You ever have this happen? You're browsing the web and suddenly you notice someone mentions a game you'd completely forgot existed but consumed your life way back when. That happened to me this week when I saw a screenshot from that ground breaking physics-base indie title World Of Goo.
Besides having to load the game up to play again, that reference got me wondering: whatever happened to that series and the developer who gave us such an amazing gaming experience? World Of Goo isn't the only forgotten gem of gaming, as there are tons of series' that arrived to make a big splash, but then faded into obscurity for one reason or another.
Today we're going to look at 7 different developers, game series, and gameplay concepts that just haven't been on anyone's radar in a long time. Some deserve to make a big return, and others... perhaps not so much.
With refreshingly different gameplay, iconic and instantly recognizable graphics, and great sound effects, this first game from 2D Boy was destined to receive wild accolades and award after award.
The developer seemed poised to absolutely dominate this niche of the gaming market... only nothing else ever happened. The 2D Boy website still exists, but there's never been another game made and nothing is currently in the works.
Both Kyle Gabler and Ron Caramel went on to create Indie Fund, which helps fund other small time developers and has been involved with everything from Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine to the stand-alone version of Half-Life 2 mod Dear Esther.
Kyle Gabler also worked on the 2012 Wii U title Little Inferno, which was a welcome experience for fans of World Of Goo. At this point that seems to be the extent of it though, and its unlikely we'll ever get a Goo sequel or a new 2D Boy game at all.
Other developers have taken up the torch since then, both on the cute side and the physics side. One of the most recent is the equally odd physics-based game Slime Rancher.
King of the weird games with massively different mechanics, each iteration of the Katamari series was a bizarrely awesome experience that tasked the little prince with rolling up everything to make new stars.
After only a handful of games, the series essentially ended with Beautiful Katamari on the Xbox 360 back in 2007. While Katamari Forever in 2009 did add in some new concepts, it primarily consisted of maps from the previous games, so it was really more a retrospective than an actual new title.
Sadly, there's been just nothing for this generation of consoles (outside a pointless tap-tap mobile game with a vaguely dirty title). No official info has arrived about any sort of real sequels, but there is hope still: Namco registered a trademark for the title Amazing Katamari Damacy earlier this year and also bought the domain to a similarly named website. We may be getting a new Katamari game sooner rather than later!
1997 was a very good year for the PS1, seeing landmark releases like Final Fantasy 7 to the offbeat Oddworld: Abe's Odysee. With fantastically interesting characters that straddled the line between gross and hilarious, Oddworld was a daringly different game utilizing platformer mechanics.
Of course, everyone wanted more, and all the gaming magazines (remember when there were gaming magazines?) added to the breathless hype of a projected series of five Odysee games. Following Munch's Odysee in 2001, there was supposed to be Squeak's Odysee, Munch's Exoddus, and many more, but they all failed to materialize.
What we did get was a very different experience than expected in the FPS Stranger's Wrath, a real forgotten gem of gaming that offered some crazy unexpected mechanics for the time.
While none of those sequels ever arrived, Oddworld Inhabitants did recently launch New And Tasty - a total remake of the original Abe's Odysee - to revitalize the series. Currently the developer is planning on remaking Abe's Exoddus next under the title Soulstorm, but unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any actual new titles in the series slated for release at this point.
Anybody else ever dust off their N64 and pull out old classic titles like the much-hyped, dinosaur-killing FPS Turok? Despite the interesting premise and nostalgia from gamers of this era, the series never got as many sequels as its shooter contemporaries.
Following Seeds Of Evil, Rage Wars, Shadows Of Oblivion, and Evolution, the series dropped off the map. It wasn't until 2008 that a complete reboot launched for the 360 and PS3.
Since then, fans have been in a barren desert of despair. A sequel to the reboot was planned and then cancelled all behind the scenes. Night Dive Studios has also been teasing remakes of the earlier games for years, but no release dates or any definitive info ever actually arrives. Considering that the developer is now waist-deep in recreating System Shock, it seems like Turok is well and truly dead.
Easily one of the most unique and interesting universes in any medium, Planescape was the high point of the AD&D system and gave us the much-loved CRPG title Planescape: Torment.
Considering that it constantly ranks among the top listings of RPGs, its bizarre that there's never been any other games placed in the same setting. There was in fact a first person title in the works slated to release on the PS1 that would have put you in the role of a member of the Harmonium, policing the wild streets of Sigil.
Sadly (or not, if FPS games aren't your thing), it was scrapped six months into development. It might not necessarily have been in the spirit of the classic Torment, but its not like going first person is an unprecedented style shift, with games like Dark Messiah Of Might And Magic or Fallout 3 making the leap.
With Wizards Of The Coast not letting anyone else use the Planescape license, its unlikely we'll ever get another video game placed in this long lost multiverse. But then again, considering the quality of recent D&D titles, that may be for the best: just take a look at Daggerdale or Sword Coast Legends.
All is not lost though! InXile is gearing up to release Torment: Tides Of Numenera in Q1 2017. While no longer set in Planescape for legal reasons, all the same bizarre oddity and interesting moral choices are slated to set a very similar tone.
Once the single most popular Facebook game in existence, Farmville was famous for bugging the hell out of everyone with a computer before people figured out you could turn off notifications for game requests.
Since the game's popularity faded and people moved on to anything with the word "Crush" or "Saga" in the title, there apparently were Farmville 2, Farmville: Tropic Escape, and Farmville: Country Escape all released at some point over the years.
Developer Zynga has definitely had its share of ups and downs since Farmville changed people's perceptions of what you could do on social media. According to Statista, daily active users for all Zynga games has fallen from 72 million in 2012 to 18 million this quarter of 2016 in a nearly MySpace-level drop off.
Zynga currently has 54 discontinued games and 35 active ones – which is kind of nuts for a company started in 2007. Considering how most of them are the same thing with different skins over top, and the company's many shady connections to scam ads, maybe it's for the best that the “discontinued” column continues to grow.
Any of our readers out there still actively playing Farmville at this point?
Gaming has changed a lot in a short period of time, and it seems like another era when split screen multiplayer was automatically included with any given game. Sadly the practice is now fading as online multiplayer replaces it in the hearts of a younger generation.
Goldeneye is of course the title that will always be instantly associated with split screen, although it also showed the mechanic's limitations: being able to see what your opponent is currently doing. This very issue was actually made into the basis of Screencheat, a game where everyone is invisible so you have to look at other player's screens to have any idea where to shoot.
While a dying option in newer games, there are still titles worth pulling out to play split screen with your friends, from the Left 4 Dead series (which is overdue for a sequel itself) to Far Cry 3.
Thankfully, split screen isn't entirely dead and just returned with the newly released Gears Of War 4 (which is absurdly awesome by the way). As far as I'm concerned, split screen co-oping with my friends while getting drunk is an integral part of the gaming experience. You lose something when your bud is talking over a microphone across town and not sitting on the couch next to you.
Thanks for sticking around for our little history lesson on forgotten games, devs who fell off the radar, and mechanics that don't get any play anymore. Which of these series do you think needs a new entry, and what forgotten corners of gaming did we miss that you'd like to see resurrected soon?